Billy Joel’s Beach House: Redecorated by Nate Berkus

by hookedonhouses on January 26, 2011

Billy Joel's Hamptons Beach House For Sale

One of the first celebrity listings I featured, back in early 2008, was the Hamptons beach house that Billy Joel had bought for his young bride Katie Lee. He paid a little under $19 million for the four-bedroom, six-bath vacation home, but when they split last year, the house went back on the market for $22.5m.

Here’s how the house looked in ’08:

Billy Joel's Hamptons Beach house exterior

And how it looks in the listing today:

Billy Joel's Beach house 1

Katie hired Nate Berkus to decorate the beach house (and their townhouse in New York, which you can see here). They became friends, and you may have seen her on his show:

Katie Lee and Nate Berkus-Nate Show

Here’s how the deck that overlooks the beach looked in ’08:

Billy Joel-beach house deck-beach

And today:

Billy Joel's beach house deck

According to the listing, “Terraces on both levels guarantee breathtaking views of stunning Sagaponack land and seascapes.”

Family Room Before:

Billy Joel's family room BEFORE Nate Berkus

Billy Joel's family room fireplace

And the Family Room after Nate Berkus got to it:

Billy Joel's Hamptons House For Sale (4)

In this photo the family room the furniture is different, even though they’re both in the current listing:

Billy Joel's beach house living room

The Kitchen Before:

Billy Joel's Hamptons house-kitchen

And the Kitchen Today:

Billy Joel's Hamptons House stainless steel cabinets

Billy Joel's Hamptons House For Sale (2)

The painted floors are interesting. Do you like this look better than the original stained hardwoods?

Billy Joel's Hamptons House For Sale (9)

The house has 4 bedrooms:

Billy Joel's Hamptons beach house bedroom

This house once belonged to Roy Scheider (Jaws), who died in 2008.

Billy Joel's beach house Sagaponack bedroom

One of the 6 Bathrooms:

Billy Joel's beach house Hamptons bathroom

The Study:

Billy Joel's beach house gray library

What do you think? Do you like the beach house better after Nate got finished with it? You can see my original post about this house here. For more photos and information, check the Corcoran listing.

Julia-simple teal signature

 P.S. Visit my Celebrity Real Estate page to see more, including…

Billy Joel and Katie Lee's West Village Townhouse

Billy’s Townhouse

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Sally January 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

Wow – I usually like rooms that Nate designs – but this time… not so much. Really don’t like the floor – it was so pretty before. I tend to like the “before” pictures on this one.
.-= Sally´s last blog ..Tuesday Randomness &amp a Sweet Shot =-.

A.Men January 27, 2011 at 7:14 am

Don’t like Nate. Before was nicer.

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top January 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

I kind of like the original floors better. Otherwise, the house is gorgeous.

'Aunt Amelia' January 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

Dear Julia, this is OT but……..

Wanted to tell you that in my blog, I again linked to some of the “Delicious-ness” which you give to us. In this entry

Again thank you for all you do!

Lots of Valentine hugs….

hookedonhouses January 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

Thanks so much for that, Aunt Amelia! :-)

Sheri January 26, 2011 at 8:13 am

I love the new floors – not so much the old yellow toned stuff. I’m really not in love with the house in general. It doesn’t seem to have any life to it.

Sheila Krehbiel January 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

I like a lot of what was done — except for the floors. Not a fan of designs underfoot. But good grief! It’s still a gorgeous beach house. I wouldn’t say no to it!
.-= Sheila Krehbiel´s last blog ..Gibe vs jibe =-.

Heidi Stefanc January 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

I agree with Sally. I like the house before the make over. But I do like that they cleaned up the outside, it was looking a bit shabby.

Elaine H. January 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

When you asked, “The painted floors are interesting. Do you like this look better than the original stained hardwoods?”

It struck me that he reversed the wood – the outside of the house now looks like the color the floor was before and the floors are now the color the outside of the house was before….

Yes, the painted floors are interesting. And no, I don’t like how it makes the house feel for me. The warmth of the original flooring is gone. The new bleached or painted floors leave the rooms feeling cold – for me.
.-= Elaine H.´s last blog ..Perfectionismcan it be cured =-.

Jane January 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

I like the before pictures better. It’s more in line of what I envision a classic Cape Cod shingle house should look like. It seems more cozy. Never been a fan of making rooms into what they are not, i.e. a casbah in a good old New England farmhouse, ultra-modern kitchens in Victorians. Wish when they were throwing out that Boston rocker, they would have thrown it my way!

Mandy January 26, 2011 at 8:28 am

I liked it better before, except for the deck and exterior.

Ivy January 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

I agree with Mandy. The deck and exterior are nice, but I think that the interior is a little overworked. It was much more warm and inviting before.

melissa January 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

I like the home before, if you are going for a beach retreat that a family can enjoy. Who would want to get sand on the furniture in the “after” rooms? I do like the “after” floors but, really, it’s a beach house. Then again, I don’t live in a multi-million dollar home and don’t vacation in them either. : )

Karen January 26, 2011 at 8:40 am

What a gorgeous place in a fabulous location! I definitely don’t like the painted floors or most of the redo. It takes away all the warmth and coziness. I’m a big fan of real wood and real wood color. And the kitchen in the after pictures looks like a cafeteria. I usually really enjoy Nate’s decorating, but this time, not so much.

Ricki Jill Treleaven January 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

The house is beautiful, but I loved the before pic of the great room. The art over the mantel is so pretty!
.-= Ricki Jill Treleaven´s last blog ..Shelleys Bedroom Re-do =-.

Donna Frasca January 26, 2011 at 8:45 am

I remember meeting Billy Joel (used to live in Port Jefferson, Long Island) back in the 80’s. I would spend the day in the Hamptons with friends. It was a great place to catch a glimpse of celebrities and admire those homes and of course enjoy the south shore.

jeannine520 January 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

I like the original floors better. Actually, I think I like the before pics of the family room and kitchen, too. I do think the current exterior with the white painted trim is a huge improvement though. I suppose if one can afford 22.5 million for a four bedroom vacation house then redecorating to one’s liking probably wouldn’t be an issue. Sheesh, I couldn’t even imagine…

casey2racy January 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

I have to say I like the “before” in this house. It had the casual beachy feel of a vacation house. The after seems too modern.

Luciane at January 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

Hello, Julia!

What a huge change, eh??? And the price??? Well… Let’s try to win the lottery first! :-)

I love the kitchen… it’s dreamy!

If you have a minute, come take a look at my post today about Colorful interiors, ok?

Have a great day!


Luciane at

Sue @ Laundry for Six January 26, 2011 at 9:21 am

I also like the Befores on this. It’s a little too luxe for a beach house, in my opinion. And I can only imagine what sand will do to those painted floors.
.-= Sue @ Laundry for Six´s last blog ..once again- the internet saves the day =-.

Alicia January 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

I really enjoy your blog!
I like the before pics a lot better. The house feels very cold and doesn’t seem very welcoming. The floor color attributes to that I think…I would warm up the floors again and add a lot more bright colors to the furniture and accessories.
.-= Alicia´s last blog ..I moved =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now January 26, 2011 at 9:54 am

I remember seeing the townhouse on an Oprah episode and liking it a lot, but wondering what would possess someone my age to marry Billy Joel. 😉 I like some aspects of the beach house, but I’m not a fan of some of the Moroccan style stuff I see. I think the painted floors, limited to the kitchen maybe (?) would be neat, but not throughout. Too much for me…but I love the terrace!

etta January 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

..I don’t know, sometimes I like the after, sometimes I like the before… I don’t like the floor painting.. I prefere it all natural :-) but it’s a dreamy house! :-)

Nancy January 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

Are all of those kitchen cabinets stainless? If so, I would think that they would be a nightmare to keep clean… stainless appliances are one thing but an entire kitchen is way too high maintenance.

The English Organizer January 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

It seems to me it’s such a gorgeous house, it would look good ‘wearing’ anything. I’m not in love with all of Nate’s changes, and the floor seems unnecessary in such a gorgeous setting. As for the stainless cabinets – yes, clearly installed by someone who never has to clean them.
But I could certainly move straight in without too many qualms. :)
.-= The English Organizer´s last blog ..Finding and Plugging Your Time Leaks =-.

Lizzy January 26, 2011 at 10:13 am

I’m with the others – for the most part I like the before pictures better (though not on the outside – he really made the outside look great) but inside.. eh. It’s all too washed out and cold for me. It just seems like we’re seeing a LOT of this lately (the color pallate reminds me a lot of J-Lo’s new house you did the other day)… just… eh and cold. Give me color or give me death!

Well… maybe that’s a little over-dramatic.

Claudia January 26, 2011 at 10:30 am


Thank you for sharing this post. It’s interesting. I do love the view on the deck. Can you imagine that all summer long. I would have left the white slip covered couches. But I do love the floors. The before shot looks good too but I think the floors now are stunning especially in the kitchen.
All that space and the vaulted ceilings. Love it.
Thank you for a great post. Also, I mentioned your blog on my posting of Our Kitchen. I hope you don’t mind.
Take care.
.-= Claudia´s last blog ..Thinking Pink at Skylands – The Martha Stewart Blog =-.

Heather January 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’m in agreement that the before pics are much better. The house is having a style personality crisis. I think all the painted white wood looks cheap, not chic. I agree with Lizzy above…A LITTLE COLOR, PLEASE! Finally, most of the furniture is too “spindly” for the large rooms with soaring white ceilings. Sorry, Nate!
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Can You Spare a Square =-.

Mary Kay Andrews January 26, 2011 at 10:33 am

I guess the thing that strikes me is that although both decors are lovely, they seem hauntingly empty of life…and love. Maybe this is how a house looks after a split-up.

ONEWEIRDWORD January 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

Oh dear! It looks terrible. The floors, the kitchen, it just doesn’t even work. Nice on the outside though.

Susan January 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

I think Nate B. is adorable and usually he can do no wrong. But, I think the Joel’s should have saved themselves a bundle and enjoyed the house as it was. It sometimes seems as though everything is getting overly decorated.
.-= Susan´s last blog ..New in My Etsy Shop Today =-.

Loribeth January 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

I like the befores better than the afters. The exterior looks better, but the interiors looks much more inviting before they were redecorated.
.-= Loribeth´s last blog ..A Stroll Around Savannah =-.

Cheri@IHeartOldHouses January 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

I have to agree, I think there’s too much going on with all the white and the whitewashed, patterned floor. The original floor provided warmth and a nice, simple contrast. And I think I preferred the original exterior as well…yeah, it was a bit shabby but it was rustic and beach house-y! Plus I think that first shot was taken in the winter, perhaps making the house look more drab than it actually was?
.-= Cheri@IHeartOldHouses´s last blog ..On My Bookshelf- Small Bungalows =-.

Cheryl January 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

I’m with the majority of the comments here. I love Nate – love him – but I have to admit I like the “before” better. It was warmer and had the right feel for a beach house, especially the floor. The more cold and formal look are not for me. The exterior is an improvement. I would love to sit on that deck with Nate and chat for hours but I think I’ll keep my $18.5 million for now.

Jennifer January 26, 2011 at 11:43 am


Lisa January 26, 2011 at 11:57 am

Have to say I like the before pictures. Nate’s works looks very forced with whatever they could find at garage sales. Really took away the charm the beach house had.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Beach House Card =-.

Elisha January 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

First, let me say that the “cedar shake-Hamptons beach house” look IS MY FAVORITE!! The outside looks much better. I’m REALLY curious as to how they got the original cedar color back on the outside (sanded and re-sealed or God Forbid re-shaked the whole house!)

I’m a fan of pickled floors or reclaimed wide oak that looks weathered, but I HATE the painted stencil. It’s overdone and completely unnecessary. The kitchen is awesome with the new appliances and such, but the stainless steel AND the new color AND the grayish floor adds up to a too cold space if you ask me. As does that one bedroom picture with the “too cold” gray on the walls.

Again, I love the subtle blues, grays and tans in a beach house because it reflects the natural landscape out the windows, but you have to have an element of warmth in the paint or it’s just all wrong.

Spring January 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I like painted floors in general but I don’t think it works in this house. The stencil looks wrong and the white/grey floor with the white/grey walls just make the whole house seem… off. The old floors warmed the house up.

Plus I hate what he did to the kitchen.
.-= Spring´s last blog ..Front Door Mania =-.

Karen January 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I really like the before on most of this. I love the painting of the little girl – wonder who the painter is ?

Melissa January 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm

The before is so much better!! Love the incredible view! I wonder if Nate was trying to please Katie’s preferences in the re-do or if the suggestions were his?

Cindy January 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Looks like I agree with the majority of the posts on this one – the before interiors are definitely better. The after just looks empty, cold and stark. I do like the exterior improvements, though.

Sorry, Nate.

Cori January 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Wow, so glad that most people here are on the same page! If you have a beach house, the before pictures are what most people dream about. The after pictures seem like they should be in a Manhattan loft or something. Interesting to look at though. Thanks for sharing, Julia!

Amanda @ House Revivals January 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I like the before better on most of the pics. Makes me wonder if things were changed up after Nate, but before the listing pictures. The second family room “after” shot is a lot better — the scale of the furnishings and accessories are much improved.
As an interior designer, and kitchen designer, the new kitchen also leaves me a bit bewildered. “Pretty” and “stylish” only take you part of the way….

HollyM January 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm

The before photos show a less stylized, warmer interior. The kitchen in particular is very cold looking; and the grouping of furniture around the fireplace is awkward and stilted. This is a beach house, for heaven’s sake. You want furniture to lounge in, snuggle into. Kind of a metaphor for the cooling off of their marriage, or am I projecting??

Lou Cinda January 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I like the family room and kitchen BEFORE better than the after….just seem cozier and more inviting than the after….not a fan of that bathroom either…

Lou Cinda

Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady January 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Wow, I love the kitchen in the before picture! It has such a friendly look.

The CommentLuv thing below the posts is telling me that the plug in needs an update and that I should tell you.

hookedonhouses January 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Oh, really? I wonder why it didn’t tell me? How odd. I’ll check that out–thanks, Maaike! :)

Kim January 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Great post! I actually found this house on zillow a week ago. I went on your site and compared your post to the forsale listing. Pretty nice house! Nate is a great designer. I can’t choose between the before and after. I like them both in their own ways.

rie January 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The two things I really like are the sink wall in the kitchen and that library ladder in the living room. That was really smart of him to build more shelves in those high ceilings and add the ladder and bar. I think I would like the new floors better without the design on them.

serenknitity January 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I’m with everyone who says they prefer the before pics. So cosy and comfortable, spacious and beachy. I think they were fixing something that wasn’t broken. Those stenciled floors are far too fussy.

What a gorgeous house in a stunning location – I don’t think I’d ever leave it.

Great post!

laney January 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

…the before…inside and out…

Catherine January 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I do NOT like the paint on the floors! The varnished wood was so warm and beautiful. Honestly, I think I could have done better. 😉 AND, I would take either/both of Billy Joel’s residences…and I’d take him, too. He really does need someone who’s been down the road and around the block a few times, don’t you think? 😀

Lynn January 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Too bad, it looked really nice before Nate got there!

Plainjane January 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I liked the house much better before! I love Nate but sometimes things are just better left alone! The house was so much cozier before.

Karen January 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I liked a lot more before! It seems more casual and laid back…and cosy before.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints January 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Not a fan of the floors. I do like the dining room chairs and the orange sofa at the end of the bed. Gorgeous!

Lesley @ TheDesignFile January 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I’d be thrilled to live in the after but I think I’d choose the before!

Dawn January 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Oh dear. This is one time that I really loved the “before” pics better.

It was just so pretty and cozy before … now it seems overdone and overdecorated somehow and lost its original quaint appeal.

Jenny January 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I’m not feeling any of it. I don’t care for the design on the floors at all. I like the look from the outside of the house and I like the view!

Brenda January 26, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I personally like the beach house as it was originally, both inside and out. Nate put a “too modern for my liking” spin on it and took away the coziness.

Beth January 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Nate did that ??
bleh, bleh and more, bleh

Kate (Little Beach Bum) January 27, 2011 at 1:56 am

I’m definitely in the group that prefers the “before” pictures. They just seemed comfy and warm – I loved that old wood kitchen table, the squishy white couches, the hardwood floors…afterward, the house just seemed like it was trying too hard. When it was perfectly fine to begin with!

That being said, can you imagine having your husband buy you a FOUR-BEDROOM HAMPTONS SUMMER HOME just for kicks, when you got married? Although, if your husband is twice your age, you probably do need your own space to do your own generational things. You know, kind of like the marriage-equivalent of a teenager going to their room, shutting the door and blasting rock music. Instead, its: go to your summer home, hire a decorator, and re-do the house. Lol.

Tereza January 27, 2011 at 5:15 am

I love Nate Berkus work but I’m in the group that prefers the house before.
Anyway, it’s a dreamy house.
Hugs from Brasil

Pat January 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

THIS is my dream house. I much prefer the before pictures, I usually like Nate’s decorating, but in this house, I felt it was just about perfect before. I do not like the floors one little bit, to me, that was the biggest mistake.
I covet this house. Is that wrong?

Carolyn January 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

I, too, like the before pics better (hate to say it, Nate!). I think the stenciled gray floors are too formal for a beach house. The two views of the new living area are so different – it’s hard to know which he intended, but I prefer the original. Those metal side chairs are not inviting at all. The kitchen turns me off – all that stainless steel and the subway tile with gray grout – just no warmth. I rather like a house to show its age, and I’m definitely in the minority here when it comes to the exterior. The before pic reminds me of old shingled houses in Nantucket — just needs some climbing roses. However, I do like the after picture of the deck better.

Sue January 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Im in agreement with most of the comments above – I like the before pics MUCH better than the after. I wouldn’t have wanted to change much at all – it has lost it’s “cozy” feeling …. I usually like what Nate does ….although Im not a fan of his show either.

Thanks for your blog …I love it!

sharpei3 January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

What a shame and waste of time and money!!! It is hard to mess up such a beautiful space but Nate has managed to do just that. Hopefully he will check out the comments on this website and rethink he next beach house renovation.

Heidi@recklessbliss January 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Hi Julia,
I usually really like Nate’s style but this one missed the mark with me. It didn’t feel very beachy and inviting. I don’t think the before OR after were anything too spectacular but I guess I can’t begin to imagine the tastes of the super rich :) I just did a post on my blog I think you would like, it’s a tour of the houses from the show “Parenthood” I think some of those styles might be up your alley.
Thanks for the interesting read!

hookedonhouses January 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I do love the Parenthood sets! I’ve got a post about them scheduled to publish in March. I’ll have to stop by and see yours–you might have some other photos & info I didn’t get! :)

Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea January 28, 2011 at 2:05 am

Absolutely fantastic – I’ve always been a fan of Billy Joel and can appreciate both the before and afters. I would like to live in the style “before” the make-over but to each his own.

jeanne illenye January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

Change for the sake of change is never good. I liked the house better before. Part of the appeal of the Hamptons is the rich, earthiness of the place…the respect for that which came before. Too cold and contemporized. I’m a fan of rich, warm natural features. White is great at the shore but it needs to be tempered with warmth for balance, not blindingly white like this.

Denise January 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I’m dittoing what so many others have said- I like the before pictures so much better! I’m usually a fan of Nate’s work, but this was a big miss for me. The house seemed so much cozier in the before pics, now it just seems kind of cold and lifeless. :( sorry Nate!
Thanks for sharing this!

sandy January 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

Hmmm…..I love Nate, but I also like the before pictures. Is it the photography? I don’t know. Thanks for sharing.

Karen January 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I liked all of the ‘befores’ better! I loved the weathered gray of the house outside . . . but I do see the reasoning behind the floor design – it breaks up all of the wood – and the light gray looks kinda nice, but not sure I could live with it daily.

ShabbyChick February 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Hate the floors…and the brick like tile in the kitchen…and the stainless cabinetry…and the lighting…and the moroccan design elements. Love the view, that’s about it.

penelope dietor February 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

It’s perfect it’s exactly what I would design for myself if I could!..Every room is so indicative of the beach life .It’s form, function , casual but still elegant.
Perfect !

Ms V June 10, 2011 at 10:49 am

Well, i gotta be honest… I’de be besotted with Billy Joel if he lived in a tent !

Mia July 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

The “before” house is much better! It was a true, plop-down-and-be-comfy beach house…now it’s not. Guess the ex-wife just wanted to spend some money!

madonnaearth January 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I liked most of the before pictures better. I think the new floor only worked in the picture of the study.

But I LOVE the revised deck, especially the longer table and the umbrellas.

madonnaearth January 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

also, the color change on the outside of the house looks a little more weatherbeaten around the roof area than the first charcoal-looking color. I prefer the charcoal. Much more dramatic looking.

Dawn January 21, 2012 at 12:05 am

I think the ‘before’ pictures are better in this.

Laurette Marais July 30, 2012 at 3:18 am

I see why Nate’s show was cancelled. He removed the poetry from the house.

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